Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Nadal a nemesis no more

Federer now has the knowledge of how to overcome his top foe
Roger Federer of Switzerland will use what he learned in a five-hour marathon loss to Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open to turn the table on the Spaniard in Sunday's men's singles final at the French Open, writes Bud Collins of MSNBC.com.

COMMENTARY
By Bud Collins
NBC Sports
Updated: 7:49 p.m. CT June 9, 2006


Bud Collins

PARIS - It’s good news here at the French Open as the tennis world is going to be treated to the men's singles final fans had hoped for -- Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal.

And while that's the good news, I feel the big news will come on Sunday with Federer putting an end to Nadal's incredible 59-match winning streak on clay.

Meeting up once again
From the minute the French fortnight began, everybody was talking about a final between Federer and Nadal. Well, on Friday, those two finished up their last piece of business to secure their showdown.

Federer had a bad start to his semifinal match against David Nalbandian, and he fell behind 6-3, 3-0, but just as he started to find his game, the Argentine began to be bothered by a left stomach muscle injury.

In the end, Nalbandian retired to give Federer a 3-6, 6-4, 5-2 win, and a spot in the final.

Then Nadal worked his magic against Ivan Ljubicic to put himself in position to defend his French Open crown with a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) win.

Now that the next version of tennis' answer to Ali-Frazier is set for Court Philippe Chatrier here at Roland Garros, let’s take a look at how these stars stack up against each other.

Before we do that, let’s just make a note that the crafty southpaw Nadal holds a 5-1 career edge on Federer, and has won all three of their meetings this year in the Dubai, Monte Carlo and Rome finals.

But let me say that I was in Rome and saw that five-set thriller, and Federer should have won except for two bad points he played at the end of the fifth set.

And it also pays to note that Federer has a 7-0 record in Grand Slam finals, and that’s got to provide some serious confidence for the Swiss.

Here’s the bottom line: While it might matter to these guys who wins this battle, I think history shows that they are going to put on a great show.

So here’s the breakdown on different elements of their games.

Serve
I think Federer has the better serve, but on the other hand, Nadal’s serve is improving, and he seems to know how to hit that ace down the middle quite a lot.

But in the big picture, Federer is just much more reliable on the serve, and Nadal has to work on his service consistency
Edge: Federer.

Return-of-serve
I think they both have a really good return-of-serve, but if I had to say that one had a better return than the other, I would have to give a nod to Nadal.

And I especially feel that Nadal has a bit of an edge on the return-of-serve on clay, which isn’t surprising since he’s the best clay-court player in the world these days.

But what I can say is that Federer should keep in mind that he has big opportunities on the return-of-serve when Nadal is forced into a second-serve situation. Federer should make sure to take advantage of such opportunities by chipping and charging on any of Nadal’s second serves.
Edge: Nadal.

Volleys
Federer is the better volleyer, and that’s how I think he’s got to win this match. If Federer isn’t on the attack and he doesn’t take every opportunity to move forward, I’m not sure about his chances to win this match.

He saw in Rome that he could attack Nadal, but I think he still needs to overcome some hesitancy in this area.

I’m sure Federer’s coach, Tony Roche, is encouraging him to come forward whenever he can. For Roche, coming forward was instinctive. It’s not that way for Federer, but he should feel confident to do so anyway.
Edge: Federer.

Forehand
I think they both have exquisite forehands so it’s very hard to give an advantage in this category.

The forehand is a specialty of both of these players, but I must mention that the inside-out forehand of Nadal’s is a killer, while Federer has a more conventional forehand.

Nadal’s forehand has a lot of spin, and it comes up high on Federer, but the Swiss can manage that I’m sure.
Edge: Even.

Backhand
I think Nadal has the better backhand. The Spaniard keeps his forehand in play more often, and it is a stronger weapon than Federer’s backhand.
Edge: Nadal.

Stamina not an issue for either player

Fitness and athleticism
Both of these guys are fit -– if you doubt that just look at how well they cover the court.

And both of them have proven that they can play five-hour matches so they aren’t about to wilt away from a great challenge. They might have been tired in Rome, but they weren’t droopy.

While I believe Nadal is probably the stronger physical specimen, I think they both can hold their own in the fitness-athleticism category.
Edge: Even.

Strategy
Well, the best I can tell, Nadal’s strategy is just to get to every ball, and put it back with a lot of spin on it. I don’t know if there’s any plan there.

I think the strategy has to come more from Federer -– he has to know when to come in, and when to stay back. He has to set up in his mind how the match is going to go.

Federer is a better student of the game, and he is older and has been around more.
Edge: Federer.

Mental toughness
I think they both are mentally tough, and they both have been looking forward to this match.

Nadal should be very confident since he’s beaten Federer on clay, and he’s even beaten him on hard courts.

This is a very important match for Federer to gain his equilibrium. Even though he’s going on to the grass, his favorite surface, he’s not going to feel very good if he loses here.

A lot of people say why is Nadal ranked No. 2 if he’s always beating No. 1, and that’s a question that Federer needs to answer.

Nadal has a slight advantage mentally because of the way he’s beaten Federer every time they’ve played.
Edge: Nadal.

Many are going with Nadal to take the title, but I'm basing my pick of Federer to win on his having learned a lot during his marathon encounter with Nadal earlier this season in the Italian Open final.

Federer, I believe, will show he knows how to translate the knowledge gained in Rome into a win over his nemesis.

© 2006 MSNBC Interactive

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13232731/page/2/

Last edited by WhataQT; 06-10-2006 at 06:53 AM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 07:18 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Good analysis from Bud Collins. And I guess the top sports reporters have to declare their picks.

As for me, I won't even dare guess the outcome. I'm just going to faithfully root for Nadal.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 07:23 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

What a load of crap, this is not a match preview, it's just comparing two players' strokes.

This guy must be a genius to conclude Federer has better volleys than Nadal. With that in mind I can't see how Fed can not win the title.

ROGER FEDERER

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 07:36 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Nadal's forehand is an asset on clay but a disadvantage on grass/hard courts due to the fact that with the speed the ball travels on faster courts, the slower bouncing ball from nadal's top spin allows players to play shorter winner shots more than on clay
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 08:00 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Federer's forehand is clearly tailored for faster surfaces...while Nadal's more the product of a clay-courter. They matchup pretty evenly..
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 08:12 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Everyone has the right to have their own opinion. For me nevertheless it's going to be a huge surprise (not for me, but reading what people are hoping) when Nadal overcomes Federer tomorrow clearly, playing his best tennis.

Para siempre Rafa



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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 08:24 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Quote:

Return-of-serve
I think they both have a really good return-of-serve, but if I had to say that one had a better return than the other, I would have to give a nod to Nadal.

And I especially feel that Nadal has a bit of an edge on the return-of-serve on clay, which isn’t surprising since he’s the best clay-court player in the world these days.

But what I can say is that Federer should keep in mind that he has big opportunities on the return-of-serve when Nadal is forced into a second-serve situation. Federer should make sure to take advantage of such opportunities by chipping and charging on any of Nadal’s second serves.
Edge: Nadal.
Surprise considering that Nadal has struggled with big servers more than Roger. Nadal is not as good at blocking serves.


Quote:

Forehand
I think they both have exquisite forehands so it’s very hard to give an advantage in this category.

The forehand is a specialty of both of these players, but I must mention that the inside-out forehand of Nadal’s is a killer, while Federer has a more conventional forehand.

Nadal’s forehand has a lot of spin, and it comes up high on Federer, but the Swiss can manage that I’m sure.
Edge: Even.
Federer forehand has more power, more variety and more capable of winning points. Only advantage of the Nadal forehand is fewer errors.

Quote:
Stamina not an issue for either player

Fitness and athleticism
Both of these guys are fit -– if you doubt that just look at how well they cover the court.

And both of them have proven that they can play five-hour matches so they aren’t about to wilt away from a great challenge. They might have been tired in Rome, but they weren’t droopy.

While I believe Nadal is probably the stronger physical specimen, I think they both can hold their own in the fitness-athleticism category.
Edge: Even.
Surely Nadal leads this catergory. He seems to have unlimited physical reserves.

The current greatness league of active players in order of achievements to date (a factual comparison rather than fan biased assessment):

Federer 17 GS, 6 Year End Masters, 24 Master Series.
Nadal 14 GS, 27 Master Series, 1 Olympic Gold.
Djokovic 9 GS, 4 Year End Masters, 24 Master Series.


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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJules
Surely Nadal leads this catergory. He seems to have unlimited physical reserves.
Nadal is undoubtedly the fitter of the two, but consider the fact that Nadal will also be the one doing the bulge of the running, so he basically NEEDS to be much fitter than Federer and he's not that much fitter, which leads me to conclude that Federer would hold the physical edge in a 6-hour marathon match.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 08:33 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Yeah, I stopped reading after,

Quote:
Volleys
Federer is the better volleyer, and that’s how I think he’s got to win this match.
I was too busy laughing.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 08:47 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Fed should have won Rome?
So why didn't he!
And why didn't he learn from the Dubai and M.C finals?
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 08:53 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

I agree with Moonshine...its not like he's going to learn some amazing secret that will lead to him beating Nadal. The game he had at Rome will be the game he will have at RG on Sunday. Pat McEnroe said something which i thought was dead on in that he said in order to beat Nadal the points must me quick and short...in other words a powerful serve set up with a forehand winner (Sampras style). The mistake that I have seen Federer make in the past when he has played Nadal is that he tries to outrally him...Federer may be great but Nadal is amazingly good at rallying at the baseline and he never gives up. The only way to beat Nadal is to not give him a chance in the first place...the points need to be SHORT...
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 09:01 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdhallu
The only way to beat Nadal is to not give him a chance in the first place...the points need to be SHORT...
Yeah, when PHM won the first set against Nadal, he really took the game to Nadal and played very aggressive. This seemed to stress Nadal who started to make unusual mistakes in order to turn the game around. The worst thing to do against Nadal is to let him settle into his game, where he finds his steady rhythm and just keeps going and going and going. When that happens he next to impossible to beat on clay.

Obviously you need to game to pull this off. PHM had the game to do it for one set. Federer has the game to do it over a full best-of-five match.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 11:11 AM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Quote:
posted by Almiralpye : "Good analysis from Bud Collins. And I guess the top sports reporters have to declare their picks.

As for me, I won't even dare guess the outcome. I'm just going to faithfully root for Nadal."
I am with you here. I am really looking forward the final.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 12:30 PM
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdhallu
I agree with Moonshine...its not like he's going to learn some amazing secret that will lead to him beating Nadal. The game he had at Rome will be the game he will have at RG on Sunday. Pat McEnroe said something which i thought was dead on in that he said in order to beat Nadal the points must me quick and short...in other words a powerful serve set up with a forehand winner (Sampras style). The mistake that I have seen Federer make in the past when he has played Nadal is that he tries to outrally him...Federer may be great but Nadal is amazingly good at rallying at the baseline and he never gives up. The only way to beat Nadal is to not give him a chance in the first place...the points need to be SHORT...
Good point. Look at how Blake beat Nadal in New York and Indian Wells. Just go for broke. Of course it's a lot more difficult to do this on clay, but still with the acuracy Federer has with his forehand he could pull it of.

ROGER FEDERER

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Career titles (7): 2004 – Toronto AMS; 2005 – Monte Carlo AMS, Roland Garros, Kitzbühel; 2006 – Doha, Beijing; 2007 - Kitzbühel.
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Re: Bud Collins breakdown the elements of Fed and Rafa games:Nadal a Nemesis No More

I am looking for Nadal to take this thing all the way. I will not be suprised like some other people if Nadal wins. In my opinion everyone is basing this off of the Rome final; as easily as some of us can say, that Federer gave away his chances, we can also say that Nadal did not play at his best. He was trying to tie the all time record, which probably made him nervous. Federer is going to have to play his absolute best.
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